Shield From Stroke by Eating Apples and Pears

Stroke risk lowered by consuming an apple or pear each day

(RxWiki News) New research suggests stroke prevention may be easier than you think. Eating a pear or apple every day may help lower your risk of stroke by 52 percent.

Consuming other fruits and vegetables with white flesh known to contain beneficial phytochemicals such as carotenoids and flavonoids such as cucumbers, cauliflower and bananas also could protect from stroke. The Dutch study marked the first to examine fruit and vegetable color groups in relation to stroke.

"Eat a pear or apple daily."

Linda M. Oude Griep, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow in human nutrition at Wageningen Uninversity in the Netherlands, said that consuming high amounts of white fruits and vegetables may be useful in preventing stroke. However, she noted that other colors of fruits and vegetables may protect against chronic diseases.

Investigators looked at the incidence of stroke over a 10-year period in a group of more than 20,000 adults with an average age of 41. At the beginning of the study, none had heart disease. Each completed a 178-item questionnaire about their frequency in consuming certain foods during the previous year.

Fruits and vegetables were classified into four groups. They included green with dark leafy vegetables such as cabbage and lettuce, orange or yellow, consisting mostly of citrus fruits; red or purple, mostly red vegetables; and white of which 55 percent were pears or apples.

Researchers documented 233 strokes during 10 years of follow up. None of the fruit and vegetable color groups were found to be related to stroke except for white.

For each 25 gram per day increase in white fruits or vegetables, the risk of stroke was found to decline by 9 percent in comparison to those with a low intake of white fruits and vegetables. The average apple contains 120 grams. This may be because apples and pears are high in dietary fiber and a flavonoid called quercetin.

Oude Griep said that additional research would be needed to confirm the results and noted that it is too early for physicians to suggest patients change their dietary habits based on the finding.

The observational study was published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Review Date: 
September 15, 2011